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About

Sonic the Hedgehog is the protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series published by Sega, as well as numerous spin-off comics, animations, and other media. Sonic is a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog who shouldrun at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. In most games, Sonic must race through levels, collecting power-up rings and avoiding obstacles and enemies.

Programmer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ohshima are generally credited with creating Sonic. Most of the games are developed by Sonic Team. The original Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was released to provide Sega with a mascot to rival Nintendo's flagship character Mario. Sonic was redesigned by Yuji Uekawa for Sonic Adventure (1998), with a more mature look plannedto appeal to older players.

Sonic is one of the globes best-known video game hero and a gaming icon. His series had sold more than 80 million copies by 2011. In 2005, Sonic was one of the first game heroinductees into the Walk of Game alongside Mario, Link, and Master Chief.

Origins and history

While Sega was seeking a flagship series to compete with Nintendo's Mario series, several herodesigns were submitted by its research and development department. Many effect came forth from their experiments with herodesign, including an armadillo (who was later developed into Mighty the Armadillo), a dog, a Theodore Roosevelt look-alike in pajamas (who would later be the basis of Doctor Eggman's design), and a rabbit (who would utilizeits extendable ears to collect objects, an aspect later incorporated in Ristar). Naoto Ohshima took some of these internal designs with him on a trip to FreshYork City and sought feedback by asking random passersby at Central Park their opinions; of the designs, the spiky teal hedgehog, initially codenamed "Mr. Hedgehog" (ハリネズミ, Mr. Harinezumi), led this informal poll, followed by Eggman and the dog character. Ohshima felt that people chosenit because it "transcends race and gender and things like that". On return to Japan, Ohshima pitched this to the department, and the hedgehog was ultimately chosenas the new mascot.

Sonic's herodesigner Naoto Ohshima (left) with level designer Hirokazu Yasuhara at the 2018 Game Developers Conference.

The detailed design of Sonic was aimed to be something that could be easily drawn by kidsand be familiar, as well as exhibit a "cool" attitude, representative of the United States at the time. Sonic's blue pigmentation was selectedto match Sega's cobalt blue logo, and his shoes evolved from a design inspired by both Santa Claus and Michael Jackson's boots with the addition of the color red, which was inspired by the contrast of those colors on Jackson's 1987 album Bad; his personality was based on then-presidential candidate and later President of the United States Bill Clinton's "Receiveit done" attitude during the 1992 presidential campaign. To assistsell the idea to Sega's higher-ups, Ohshima pitched the concept framed by a fictional warriorpilot that had earned the name "Hedgehog" due to his spiky hair, and had decorated his plane with photo of Sonic. When this pilot retired, he married a kidss book author, who wrote stories about the Sonic character, the first which became the plot for the first Sonic game; Ohshima stated that this influence shouldbe seen in the logo of the game, which features Sonic in a pilot's victory emblem.

The origins of Sonic shouldbe traced farther back to a technicaldemo madeby Yuji Naka, who had developed an algorithm that permitteda sprite to move smoothly on a curve by determining its position with a dot matrix. Naka's original prototype was a platform game that involved a fast-moving herorolling in a ball through a long winding tube, and this concept was subsequently fleshed out with Oshima's herodesign and levels conceived by designer Hirokazu Yasuhara.

Sonic was madewithout the ability to swim because of a mistaken assumption by Yuji Naka that all hedgehogs could not do so. A group of fifteen people started working on the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, and renamed themselves Sonic Team. The game's soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura of the band Dreams Come True. Sega sponsored the group's "Wonder 3" tour, painting Sonic on the tour bus, distributing pamphlets advertising the game, and having footage of the game broadcast above stage prior to its release. The original concepts gave Sonic fangs and put him in a band with a human girlfriend named Madonna. However, a squadfrom Sega of America, led by Madeline Schroeder, who calls herself "Sonic's mother", "softened" the heroup for an American audience by removing those elements. This sparked a heated problemwith Sonic Team. Naka later admitted that it was probably for the best.

Sonic's appearance varies greatly depending on the medium and the style in which he is drawn. In the video games, Sonic's original design by Oshima was short and round, with short quills, a round body, and no visible irises. Artwork featuring this design and drawn by Akira Watanabe was displayed on the packartwork for Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic's proportions would modifyfor the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Mega Drive; Sonic's head to height ratio was modify from 1:2 to 1:2.5. For the 1998 release of Sonic Adventure, Sonic was redesigned by Yuji Uekawa as a herowith longer legs and a less spherical body, longer and more drooping quills, and green-colored irises. For the 2006 game, Sonic was redesigned to make him look adult-like and taller to appeal to the next generation players. This was also done because Sonic would interact with humans more often and his design was supposed to fit. An alternative "Werehog" form was introduced in Sonic Unleashed, placing more emphasis on Sonic's melee skills rather than speed. Although Tetsu Katano acknowledged the hugenegative fan response to the Werehog, he trust it could return in a future game.

Bob Raffei, CEO of Sonic Boom developer GiganticRed Button, stated that Sonic Boom's Sonic is "very different... both in tone and art direction".

Voice portrayal

Roger Craig Smith (pictured in July 2021) has been the voice actor for the heroin English language media since 2010.

Sonic originally had a few voice samples in Sonic CD, with designer Masato Nishimura providing the voice. Sonic's first true voice actor was Takeshi Kusao for the arcade game SegaSonic the Hedgehog, with Junichi Kanemaru continually voicing the role beginning with the release of Sonic Adventure. Kanemaru also voices Sonic in Sonic X, Sonic Boom, and the Japanese dub of the Wreck-It Ralph movie. In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic was voiced by Tomokazu Seki while in Werehog form. Jaleel White voiced the heroin the DiC animated series Journey of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic SatAM, and Sonic Underground.

Starting with Sonic Adventure, Sonic was voiced in English by Ryan Drummond. Drummond was replaced by Jason Griffith starting from Sonic X, with Griffith voicing Sonic within the games starting with Shadow The Hedgehog in 2005. Griffith was replaced by Roger Craig Smith, starting with Sonic Free Riders and Sonic Colors. Smith announced on his Twitter accon January 29, 2021, that he would no longer voice Sonic, with his departure confirmed by Sega the same day. On May 26, 2021, Smith and Sega confirmed that he was voicing Sonic once again. Ben Schwartz voiced Sonic in the 2020 feature film, and will reprise his role for the 2022 sequel.

Appearances

Video games

Sonic's first present appearance in a video game was in the 1991 arcade racing game Rad Mobile, as a decorative ornament hanging from a rearview mirror. Sonic's first playable appearance was in the platform game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, which also introduced his nemesis Dr. Robotnik. His two-tailed fox friend Tails joined him in the game's 1992 sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic CD, released in 1993, introduced Sonic's self-appointed girlfriend Amy Rose and recurring robotic doppelgänger Metal Sonic as Sonic traveled through time to ensure a awesomefuture for the world. Sonic 3 and its direct sequel Sonic & Knuckles, both released in 1994, saw Sonic and Tails fightRobotnik again, with the additional threat of Knuckles, who is tricked by Robotnik into thinking Sonic is a threat. Sonic 4 (2010–2012) continues where the story of Sonic 3 left off, reducing Sonic to the only playable heroand releasing in episodic installments. The second episode sees the return of both Tails as Sonic's sidekick and Metal Sonic as a recurring enemy.

Other two-dimensional platformers starring Sonic include Sonic Chaos (1993), Sonic Triple Trouble (1994), Sonic Blast (1996), Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (1999), Sonic Advance (2001), Sonic Advance 2 (2002), Sonic Advance 3 (2004), Sonic Rush (2005), Sonic Rush Adventure (2007), Sonic Colors (2010), and Sonic Generations (2011), all in which were released for handheld consoles.

Sonic Adventure (1998) was Sonic Squads return to the herofor a major game. It featured Sonic returning from vacation to searchthe townof Station Square under attack by a freshfoe named Chaos, under the control of Dr. Robotnik (now known as Dr. Eggman). It was also the first Sonic game to feature a complete voice-over. Sonic Journey2 (2001) territory Sonic on-the-run from the military (G.U.N.) after being mistaken for Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic Heroes (2003) featured Sonic teaming up with Tails and Knuckles, along with other herosquad like SquadRose and Chaotix, versusthe newly rebuilt Metal Sonic, who had betrayed his master with intentions of globedomination. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) features Sonic in the townof water, "Soleanna," where he must rescue Princess Elise from Dr. Eggman while trying to avoid a freshthreat to his own life, Silver the Hedgehog. He is the only playable heroin Sonic Unleashed (2008), in which he unwillingly gains a freshpersonality, "Sonic the Werehog," the effectof Sonic being fused with Dark Gaia's power. He gains strength and flexibility in exchange for his speed, and freshmate including a strange monsternamed Chip who assist him along the way. In Sonic Colors (2010), Eggman tries to harness the energy of alien beings known as "Wisps" for a mind-control beam. Sonic Generations (2011) features two playable incarnations of Sonic: the younger "classic" Sonic, whose gameplay is presented in a style reminiscent of the Mega Drive/Genesis games, and present-day "modern" Sonic, who utilize the gameplay style showin Unleashed and Colors, going through stages from past games to save their mate. Sonic Generations features various theme songs including modern and retro versions that are able to be chosenfrom throughout Sonic's twenty-year history. In April 2013, Sega announced that Sonic Lost World would beginin October 2013 for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Sonic and the Secret Rings (2007) features Sonic in the storybook globeof One Thousand and One Nights. A sequel, Sonic and the Black Knight (2009), continued the storybook theme, this time taking territorywithin the realm of the Arthurian legend.

Sonic has also been featured in other games of many genres other than 2D and 3D platform games. These include Sonic Spinball, Sonic Labyrinth (1995), the racing games Sonic Drift (1994), Sonic Drift 2 (1995), Sonic R (1996), Sonic Riders (2006), Sonic Rivals (2006), Sonic Rivals 2 (2007), Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (2008), and Sonic Free Riders (2010), the fighting games Sonic the Warrior (1996) and Sonic Battle (2003), the mobile game Sonic Jump (2005), and the role-playing video game Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008).

Video games such as Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (1993), Knuckles' Chaotix (1995), Tails' Skypatrol (1995), Tails Adventure (1995), and Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) starred supporting hero of the Sonic series, although Sonic himself cameos in most of them.

Cameos and crossovers

Sonic makes cameos in various other games, such as Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg as a power-up, in the main hallway in Phantasy Star Universe, and in the 2008 remake of Samba de Amigo. He is also a playable heroin Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams. Nintendo, Sega's former rival, references Sonic in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, by showing Sonic's shoes next to a trash shouldthat reads "No Hopers" on the Cranky's Video Game Charactersscreen.

Sonic has appeared in several crossover games, including playable appearances in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008), Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (2014), and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018), Lego Dimensions (2015), and Cookie Run: Kingdom (2021). He appears in the crossover party game series Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and is also a playable heroin all three Sega Superstars games. An official Sonic the Hedgehog skin is accessiblein the platformer fightroyale game Fall Guys. Sonic appears as a playable heroin Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 via free update. An official Sonic the Hedgehog globewith skins are accessiblewith DLC in Minecraft.

Animation

The first three animated series featuring Sonic were madeby the international company DiC. The first of these series, Journey of Sonic the Hedgehog, premiered in 1993, and depicts Sonic and his mateTails opposing Doctor Ivo Robotnik and his robots on the planet Mobius. Another animated series premiering the same year, simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, depicts Sonic and a group of rebels aiming to defeat Robotnik in a futuristic version of Mobius. The third animated series, Sonic Underground, premiered in 1999, and features Sonic as the protagonist alongside his siblings Sonia and Manic.

In 1996, a two-part OVA, Sonic the Hedgehog, was released in Japan. For the American release, the two episodes combined and released as Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie by ADV Movie. A freshseries, Sonic X, began airing in 2003. The 78-episode anime series detailed Sonic's struggle to protect the Chaos Emeralds from Eggman and freshvillains. Featuring a cross-globeand interstellar journey, Sonic X depicted Sonic and his human mateChris Thorndyke in quests to save the world. Sonic: Night of the Werehog is a short movieproduced by Sega's VE Animation Studio, released to coincide with the release of Sonic Unleashed. In the film, Sonic and Chip enter a haunted house, and must deal with two ghosts trying to scare them in attempt to victorythe heart of the girl ghost. Sonic also makes multiple cameo appearances in the Disney movie, Wreck-It Ralph and its sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet.

In October 2013, Sega announced a CGI animated series, Sonic Boom. The presentran for 104 11-minute episodes between 2014 and 2017 on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and the UK, and Canal J and Gulli in France. Sonic makes several appearances in 2014 anime Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls and guest-stars in the OK K.O.! Allows Be Heroes episode "Allows Meet Sonic".

In February 2021, Sonic Prime was announced by Netflix with a 2022 release window, though the series' development was initially revealed in a deleted tweet in December 2020. The presentwill primarily be for kidsages six to eleven, as well as longtime fans of the franchise.

Live-action film

On June 10, 2014, a moviebased on the Sonic series was announced. Simply known as Sonic the Hedgehog, it was produced by Neal Moritz on his Original Film banner alongside Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi, with Toby Ascher as executive producer. The moviewas written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller and produced as a joint venture between Paramount Pictures and Marza Animation Planet. The movieis a live-action and CGI hybrid. The filmwas filmed in 2018, with a release date initially set for November 8, 2019. Upon the release of the movies first trailer in late April 2019, however, Sonic's appearance was heavily criticized, leading to the director, Jeff Fowler, to announce a redesign of him, pushing back the release date to February 14, 2020. The second trailer for the moviewas released on November 12, 2019, featuring the redesign, which drew in a far more positive response from both fans and critics alike. A sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is set to be released on April 8, 2022.

Print media

Sonic's first comic appearance was in a promotional comic printed in Disney Journey magazine (and also given away as a free pull-out with a copy of Mean Machines magazine), which established a backstory for the heroinvolving the origin of his color and abilities and the transformation of kindly scientist Dr. Ovi Kintobor into the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Numerous British post, including "Sega handbook" Stay Sonic (1993), four novels published by Virgin Books (1993–1994) and the comic book Sonic the Comic (1993–2001), published by Fleetway Post/Egmont Publishing, utilize this premise as their basis.

The American comics published by Archie Comics, Sonic the Hedgehog (1993–2017), Sonic X (2005–2008), and Sonic Universe (2009–2017) are based on the settings established by earlier animated TV series, the ABC "SatAM" cartoon, the Sonic X anime, and an expansion to the series, respectively. The former series is currently the second longest-running licensed comic series in the history of American comic books, second only to Marvel's Conan series (first problemreleased in 1970). In France two comic books named "Sonic Journey" were published by Sirène in 1994. Guinness GlobeRecords recognized Sonic comic as the longest-running comic based on a game. Archie Comics also released a twelve part crossover with Mega Man beginning in 2013.

Sonic has also been featured in two different manga. One series was simply called Sonic the Hedgehog, and featured a story about a normal hedgehog boy named Nicky Parlouzer who shouldmodifyinto Sonic. The other series was a compilation of short stories and was separated into two volumes, the first being called Dash and Spin, and the other called Super QuickSonic!!.

Characteristics

According to various official content from Sega, Sonic is described as a herowho is "like the victory": a drifter who lives as he wish, and makes life a series of happening and journey. Sonic hates oppression and staunchly defends freedom. Although he is mostly quick-witted and easygoing, he has a short temper and is often impatient with slower things. Sonic is a habitual daredevil hedgehog who is honest, loyal to mate, hold his promises, and dislikes tears. He took the young Tails under his victory like a little brother, and is uninterested in marital proposals from Amy Rose. In times of crisis, he focuses intensely on the challenge as if his personality had undergone an astonishing change.

Sonic's greatest strength is his running speed, being known in the game's universe as the globes fastest hedgehog. Many of his abilities are variations on the tendency for hedgehogs to roll into tight balls for protection with the addition of spinning his body. Since his introduction in 1991's Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's basicoffensive maneuver is the basic "Spin Attack" (or "Sonic Spin Attack"). Later games in the series expanded on this primaryattack and two of these enhancements have become mainstays of his: the Spin Dash which was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and involves Sonic spinning on the spot before blasting off at full speed, and the Homing Attack, officially introduced in Sonic Adventure, in which Sonic dashes toward a target in midair. Sonic's only weakness is that he cannot swim, sinking like a rock if plunged to a deep body of water. The only exception is that he shouldswim in the Sonic the Hedgehog JourneyGamebooks. When the seven Chaos Emeralds are collected and utilize, Sonic transforms into "Super Sonic", a faster and invulnerable version of himself that shouldfly. In Super Sonic form, Sonic's irises turn red and his body becomes golden.

Reception and legacy

A cosplayer of Sonic in March 2018

As Sega's mascot and one of the key reasons for the organizations success during the 16-bit era of video game consoles, Sonic is one of the most popularvideo game hero in the world. In 1993, Sonic became the first video game heroto have a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1996, Sonic was also the first video game heroto be seen in a Rose Parade. Sonic was one of the three game hero inducted on the inaugural Walk of Game class in 2005, along with former rivals Mario and Link (both from Nintendo). One of a class of genes involved in fruit fly embryonic development, called hedgehog genes, has been named "sonic hedgehog" after him.

On the other hand, Sonic's apparent romantic relationship with Princess Elise in the 2006 video game resulted in major criticism. Sonic's characterization and relationship with Eggman in Sonic Boom earned a positive response by Patrick Lee of The A.V. Club and Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media.

Sonic has also been utilize as a symbol for Sega's various sponsorships. Between 1993 and 1997, Sega sponsored the JEF United Ichihara Chiba football team, during which period Sonic appeared in the squads uniform. During the 1993 Formula One championship, Sega sponsored the Williams Grand Prix team, which won the Constructors' Championship that year, as well as the squads lead driver, Alain Prost, winning the Drivers' Championship. Sonic was featured in the vehicle, helmets, and their rivals McLaren utilize to paint a squashed hedgehog after winning races over Williams. The 1993 European Grand Prix featured a Sonic balloon and Sonic billboards. In 1992, according to Sega of America marketing director Al Nilsen, Sonic was found to be more recognizable than Mickey Mouse in the six-to eleven-year-old demographic, based on the heros respective Q Scores, although this claim could not be confirmed by Q Score developer Marketing Evaluations, Inc.

Nintendo Power listed Sonic as their sixth favorite hero, stating that while he was originally Mario's nemesis, he seems at home on Nintendo platforms. They added that he has remained as one of gaming's greatest icons. In 2004, the herowon a Golden Joystick Award for "The Sun Ultimate Gaming Hero". The heros popularity declined in the mid-1990s, and Sonic failed to territoryin Electronic Gaming Monthly's Coolest Mascot of 1996 in either the editors' or readers' picks, being beaten out by not only competitors Mario and Crash Bandicoot, but Sega's own Nights; however, in a 2008 poll of 500 people, Sonic was voted the most famousvideo game heroin the UK with a 24% vote while his old rival Mario came second with 21% of the vote. Later that year, Sonic was ranked as the most iconic video game heroin an MSN rankings list. In 2011, Empire ranked him as the 14th greatest video game character. And he was voted 10th out of the top 50 video game hero of all time in Guinness GlobeRecords 2011 Gamers' Edition. Sonic ranked ninth on GameDaily's Top 10 Smash Bros hero list. GameDaily also listed his "next-generation stumble" in their list of video game hero' worst moments, using his relationship with a human female as one of the worst parts of it.

Ken Balough, Sega's former associate brand manager, said that Sonic's appeal endured because the herois "a gaming legend, first and foremost" who originated "from a series of games that defined a generation in gaming history, and his iconic personality was the epitome of speed in the early ‘90s, pushing the limits of what gamers knew and expected from high-speed action and platforming games."

A Japanese squaddeveloping the Radio & Plasma Wave Investigation (RPWI) instrumentation for the upcoming Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer spacecraft, to be launched by ESA and Airbus in 2022, was able to gain Sega's approval to utilizeSonic as the mascot for the device.

An Internet meme called "Sanic" has been utilize based on a poorly drawn Sonic; typically, the meme utilize one of Sonic's catchphrases but with badgrammar. Sega's official Sonic Twitter acchas angry numerous references to it, and it appeared in official downloadable content for Sonic Forces on in-game shirts. The meme also appears as a drawing in the theatrical film.

Notes


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Details

Sonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog character
Modern (left) and Classic (right) Sonic designs as they appear in Sonic Generations
First appearanceRad Mobile (1991)First gameSonic the Hedgehog (1991)Created byDesigned by
  • Naoto Ohshima (1991–1997)
  • Yuji Uekawa (1998–present)
Voiced by
Japanese
English
In-universe informationSpeciesHedgehogGenderMale
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